Independent Women: Emma Elford

Emma Elford, Commercial Content Director, Independent Ignite

In a collection of interviews to mark International Women’s Day 2022, we shine a light on some of the brilliant women at the heart of The Independent. 

Here we hear from Emma Elford, Commercial Content Director, Independent Ignite.


Describe your job

I’m The Independent’s Commercial Content Director. Last year, we launched Independent Ignite, our branded content studio, which I have the pleasure of heading up. We apply the very best in storytelling to create partnerships which bring brands closer to The Independent’s readers.

How did you get into your profession?

Through a Media Exchange advert which promised much fun in the world of media sales. I had no idea what media sales was, but the appeal of fun in noughties London had serious appeal.

Who and what has helped you break the bias?

To be fair, supportive men have to take some credit here: my husband and male bosses (not all, mind!) have pushed me to go further and do more. 

Which women do you admire?

I have always been in awe of women who put themselves in physically dangerous situations for a just cause. As a child, I wanted to be either Kate Adie or in the French Resistance. Now, more than ever, the women who are managing to live their lives in the middle of a war zone leave me in awe. And of course, today’s correspondents like Lyse Doucet and Bel Trew who ensure stories are told, I admire them greatly.

What are your hopes for the future in terms of breaking the bias?

The data bias which Caroline Criado-Perez talks about in her book Invisible Women blew my mind – the bias runs deep! The fact that men are the default option in the majority of societal planning, from government to medicine, shows there is a long way to go to redress the balance. We need to keep challenging the orthodoxy to reveal these huge hidden biases.

What one bit of career advice would you give to others?

Don’t place too much emphasis on praise and likewise on criticism. You know when you’ve nailed it and also when you’ve missed the mark.

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